How-To

How To Cook Dried Beans

This pantry superstar is simple to use, inexpensive, nutritious and versatile.

Dried legumes are a cheap, nutritious and shelf-stable ingredient to keep in your pantry. Rehydrate them with an overnight soak and stovetop cook—or more quickly in an instant pot.

(Illustrations by Stephanie Han Kim)

Black Beans

Stovetop: Cover 2 cups rinsed beans with 6 cups cold water in a pot. Set aside to soak for 6 to 8 hrs or overnight. Stir in 1/2 tsp each salt and baking soda. Transfer pot to stovetop, without changing water. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until beans are tender and water has thickened slightly, 60 to 90 min.

Instant Pot: Combine 2 cups rinsed beans with 6 cups cold water and ½ tsp each salt and baking soda in Instant Pot insert. Put the lid on. Close the pressure-release valve. Press Pressure Cook button, on High, and set for 40 min (it will take 10 min to come to pressure). When cooking finishes, carefully open pressure-release valve to depressurize, 2 to 3 min. Makes 4 ½ cups.

(Illustrations by Stephanie Han Kim)

Navy Beans

Stovetop: Cover 2 cups rinsed beans with 6 cups cold water in a pot. Set aside to soak for 6 to 8 hrs or overnight. Drain beans, then add 6 cups fresh water and 1/2 tsp each salt and baking soda. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 60 min.

Instant Pot: Combine 2 cups rinsed beans with 6 cups cold water and ½ tsp each salt and baking soda in Instant Pot insert. Put the lid on. Close the pressure-release valve. Press Pressure Cook button, on High, and set for 30 min (it will take 10 min to come to pressure). When cooking finishes, carefully open pressure-release valve to depressurize, 2 to 3 min. Makes 4 cups.

(Illustrations by Stephanie Han Kim)

Chickpeas

Stovetop: Cover 2 cups rinsed chickpeas with 5 cups cold water in a pot. Set aside to soak for 6 to 8 hrs or overnight. Drain chickpeas, then add 6 cups fresh water and ½ tsp each salt and baking soda. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until chickpeas are tender, about 90 min.

Instant Pot: Combine 2 cups rinsed chickpeas with 5 cups cold water and ½ tsp each salt and baking soda in Instant Pot insert. Put the lid on. Close the pressure-release valve. Press Pressure Cook button, on High, and set for 50 min (it will take 10 min to come to pressure). When cooking finishes, carefully open pressure-release valve to depressurize, 2 to 3 min. Makes 5 cups.

(Illustrations by Stephanie Han Kim)

Brown and Green Lentils

Stovetop: Combine 1 cup rinsed lentils with 2 1/2 cups cold water and ¼ tsp salt in a pot. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, using a spoon to skim off any foam that rises to the top occasionally, until lentils are tender but still have a bite to them, about 30 min. Makes 2½ cups.

Directions developed with the 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo Plus. Results may vary on different models

Dried Legumes 101

  • Always rinse dried legumes before soaking or cooking to remove stones and grit.
  • Adding baking soda speeds up the cooking process.
  • Want to season your beans while rehydrating them? Get creative with aromatics: Add half an onion, bay leaves, garlic cloves or a few peppercorns during the stovetop or Instant Pot stage of cooking, and remove them once the beans are done.
  • While all dried legumes are shelf-stable, older ones will take longer to cook than newly packaged ones.
  • Save the seasoned cooking liquid from your rehydrated beans; it’s flavourful and can be substituted for broth and other liquids in your recipe.
  • Portion drained cooked legumes in resealable containers or bags and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month
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